Tuesday, March 28, 2006

molasses in a microwave world

American Idol ended about an hour ago. As usual, I didn't rush to vote (still haven't). I watched "House" before coming upstairs to blog. Well, I have nothing much to say. When I asked Ted if he was interested in dual commentary again this week, his response was lethargic:

"I just don't have the..."

[long pause]

"... enthusiasm."

This comment was prompted by an overall lackluster night on Idol. The theme didn't seem like it would be too difficult (anything newer than the year 1999), but not everyone did so well in picking a well-written song that showed off their abilities. So, because neither of us was really blown away, and because it's all over the web already, there will be no elaborate discussion this week.

Kelly's Synopsis
Taylor did an excellent job with choosing "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne, and his vocal was -- once again -- spot on. Katherine started a little wobbly but quickly got back on track and did a remarkable job with Christina Aguilera's "The Voice Within." Each week, she proves more and more that she can really sing. Elliott sang a unique arrangement of Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be" which was enticing in the verse but didn't hold up as well in the chorus. That, of course, was not Elliott's problem, as his wonderful vocals shone through despite it.

Kelly's Votes For This Week (No Shock Here)
Taylor Hicks
Katherine McPhee
Elliott Yamin

Kelly's Bottom Three
Bucky Covington (go to Nashville, young man)
Lisa Tucker (sorry sweetie)
Ace Young (it had to happen sooner or later)

Kelly's Prediction of Who Will Get the Boot

Saturday, March 25, 2006

too.... much.... cute......

They did it again! Don't you think a picture like this is a good reason to contemplate adopting a fifth cat?

Just kidding, honey.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

workin' it out (dawg)

Ted joins tonight's American Idol blog, as we wrap up our viewing of the 2-hour show and rap about the performances. We think we have -- in the words of judge Randy Jackson -- worked it out.

1. Mandisa
Kelly's comment: She's an amazing singer, did a great job with tonight's song, and for the first time this season, the stylists got her outfit right. She not only sounded great, she looked absolutely beautiful.
Ted's comment: A hot, sexy number. And I liked the song, too.

2. Bucky Covington
Kelly's comment: He gets an A for effort, but he still looks terribly uncomfortable up there. I stick with my original assessment that he simply doesn't have the makings of a pop singer.
Ted's comment: Getting better every week. Probably still bottom three. Could probably win Southern Fried Rock Idol.

3. Paris Bennett
Kelly's comment: Wow, a dynamite performance. I know she's put a lot of effort into her craft, but at this age, she clearly has this talent in her genes.
Ted's comment: Ah, Paris in the Springtime. Fabulous sound as usual, but I wasn't crazy about that arrangement ("Fever"). It was too fast.

4. Chris Daughtry
Kelly's comment: Chris is near about perfect. His performance and song choice were great, and this arrangement of "I Walk the Line" was incredible. But Chris doesn't need me. I know it's this attitude that routinely puts good singers in the bottom three (like Ace last week), but I just can't shake it.
Ted's comment: Unless the fix is in, he should be in the final two. It's obvious that they (American Idol producers) love him because they give him lots of lights.

5. Katharine McPhee
Kelly's comment: Very polished and professional. She sounded nearly flawless (again), although it was lacking a real fire. Still, an excellent performance.
Ted's comment: I didn't like it as much as the judges seemed to, but I think she's safe. I don't see her getting much higher than the top five.

6. Taylor Hicks
Kelly's comment: I don't care that the song only had five notes. Taylor nailed it! I loved his performance. Despite a lack of vocal acrobatics, his singing was spot on. And that little hunch dance! He never fails to make me happy.
Ted's comment: Where he got a suit to match his hair, I'll never know. He and Chris should be the final two. He's just fun to watch and listen to, and that's what music is about!

7. Lisa Tucker
Kelly's comment: I'm disappointed that she seems to be sliding backwards. We know she's capable of more, but tonight's performance was erratic despite a few shining notes.
Ted's comment: She brings a knife to a gun fight. Bottom three.

8. Kevin Covais
Kelly's comment: OK, I get it. People think he's adorable. But he so doesn't belong here. My fear is that his song choice tonight will further melt the hearts of his mysterious fan base and keep them dialing.
Ted's comment: Opie must die! Note to the police, that's figuratively speaking. He's like that annoying kid last year (Jon Peter Lewis) who hangs around way too long because he's cute and lovable.

9. Elliott Yamin
Kelly's comment: OK, he's done it again and picked one of my all-time favorite songs ("Teach Me Tonight"). Where Taylor makes me smile, Elliott wins me over with his propensity for challenging songs and the wonderful tone of his voice.
Ted's comment: I didn't recognize the song, and I have no real opinion because I power-napped during his performance.
Kelly's comment on Ted's comment: TiVo, babe. When you get home from work tomorrow, check it out.

10. Kellie Pickler
Kelly's comment: The Patsy Cline is perfect for her. She did an excellent rendition of this song, despite being dressed like a dance club junkie with her face caked in wrong-colored foundation. Kellie has nothing to fear this week.
Ted's comment: The Pickle! Great song, great version, need to cut down on the make-up because she's very pretty if they didn't glam her up. She's definitely top four or five.

11. Ace Young
Kelly's comment: I like Ace, I really do. He has a beautiful voice and what appears to be sincere desire to communicate with song. This jazzy version of "In the Still of the Night" was very cool, and his capstone falsetto note was perfect. He doesn't make my spine tingle (only Ted does that... awwww), but I like him.
Ted's comment: One of my favorite songs. He did a great job, and I'm just amazed by his effortless falsetto.

Kelly's Summary
Say what you will about him, but Barry Manilow clearly had a hand in the overall high level of tonight's performances. He is a master song arranger and has a nose (pun intended) for what works. Everyone did well tonight, and my bottom three is not indicative of bad performances, just the weakest of the group.

Ted's Summary
This week, they all picked good songs, unlike last week when there were a lot of "wrong" songs. Oh, and Paula needs to be taken out back and stoned.

The Three That Get Kelly's Vote Tonight

The Three That Get Ted's Vote Tonight

Kelly Thinks These are the Bottom Three

Ted Thinks These are the Bottom Three

Ultimately, Kelly Concludes,
I'm drawn to Taylor Hicks in a way that borders on euphoria, and I am mesmerized by Elliott Yamin. I think Chris Daughtry should be employed at this very minute doing what he does and not fiddlin' with this silly American Idol stuff. Ditto Mandisa. On the flip side, Kevin can't be gone soon enough.

Ultimately, Ted Concludes,
Lisa will go home this week because it's too early for Kevin's peeps to turn on him, and Bucky's getting support from somewhere.

There. Now wasn't that fun? Tandem, husband and wife commentary. Reviewing and considering all comments, it would seem that we are pulling for Taylor Hicks.

Taylor, say it ain't so! The nickname "silver fox" would just be silly if you were brunette.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12

No, these aren't lottery numbers. They're the first draft of a list of American Idol call-in numbers for, in order of appearance and by call-in number:

3 Elliott Yamin
4 Mandisa
7 Lisa Tucker
9 Katharine McPhee
10 Taylor Hicks
11 Paris Bennett
12 Chris Daughtry

This is when it gets more challenging. For the last three weeks, it was relatively easy. I'd just vote once for those people I didn't want to get voted off. In effect, voting against the ones I like least by voting for everyone except them. I could still do that, now that the Final 12 is here, but I feel like I should be more particular. That's why this first list is a draft: I'm trying to narrow it down to my favorite three, and then I'll cast votes. But I only have a little time.

First, let us all give props to the man behind tonight's theme -- Mr. Stevie Wonder. Love love love Stevie. Been a big fan for many years. My iPod is disproportionately Stevie-heavy, so I hear lots of him and that's just fine with me. At the beginning of the show, I predicted that the contestants would either do really well or not at all. I think I was close to the mark. Aren't I proud of myself?

Now, let's talk about who's not on my list. Ace "Yummy" Young tried hard but gave a weak, overly-rehearsed-looking rendition of "Do I Do." Bucky Covington gave, what I think was the best performance we've seen yet of everything they've shown him do this season. That said and despite his stylist-coerced new look, he is just not A.I. material. Kellie Pickler is really just as cute as a button, and her delivery tonight was even and clean but not noteworthy in the least. Kevin Covais warbled out "Part-Time Lover," a stunningly bad song for him. He continues to be stiff as a collar in a bath tub full of bleach, and cute banter and oh-so-pinchable cheeks aside, he has got to go. Melissa McGhee shows a glimmer of talent and a potentially edgy-in-a-cool-way voice every time she sings, but she hasn't yet hit it home.

Next step, let's talk about my choices. I think Elliott is cool. I may be overly influenced by his "Moody's Mood For Love," as his performance tonight wasn't stellar. Still he did a reasonably good job, and I'd like to see him at least a little longer in this competition. I think Mandisa is a natural talent. Her performance had eh spots and brilliant spots. There needs to be more of that brilliant. It was a tough call for me to put her on this list in the first place, judging solely by tonight's performances. That may make her an easy first elimination.

Lisa Tucker was the first person tonight, in my opinion, who really did the job. She combined her great voice with command of the song and obvious ability to perform. A strong contender. Katharine McPhee was nearly flawless. The first performance of the evening that gave me pause.

An aside. There are a couple tell-tale signs that indicate to me that any concerted attempt at the cognitive process to make a determination is pointless. The truly compelling performances cause one of three things to happen to me.

A. Chills, starting at my neck and most frequently extending across my back and down my arms. Room temperature has nothing to do with this.

B. Lump in throat, almost immediately followed by eyes welling up. Really good performances require tissues.

C. Tapping foot, dancing in chair, smiling uncontrollably. One might contend that the back-up band could be good enough to produce at least 2/3 of this effect, but it's the singer that pulls it all together.

Back to the examination of criteria.

Taylor Hicks. See Point C above. Tremendous. I've said it before, I'm not afraid to say it again, I'm just uplifted and happy watching him perform. For two and a half minutes, he makes my life better. How's that for a grand statement? Paris Bennett is another born performer. She did a tremendous job tonight, infusing her own style while being true to Stevie's song. Her sideways head slide thing got a little intense occasionally, but overall, she's a genuine talent.

Chris Daughtry. No, I don't think I'm jumping on the judges' bandwagon by saying he's great. Though I do agree with Simon's comment that he was able to put his own unique stamp on a song that already had two very distinct personalities. The only negative is that he had no idea "Higher Ground" was a Stevie Wonder song. OK, I know they're all young, but come on people. Stevie Wonder. Alas, I digress.

So which of the songs performed tonight has stuck in my head since the end of the show? "Livin' in the City" (performed by Taylor).

There is my commentary. I have 20 minutes to narrow this down to three votes so I can actually get them in. Here are my choices.

The Obvious: #10 Taylor Hicks
The Contender: #3 Elliott Yamin
The Dark Horse: #9 Katharine McPhee

Wow, I left Chris off the list. Why? A combination of reasons, I think. I'm rooting for the one that makes me happy and a couple potential-filled underdogs. Chris will be very safe with his votes from 20 million other viewers.

Now, if I had to guess who of the remaining nine will be voted off on tomorrow night's show, I'd say Kevin, Bucky, and Melissa are dangerously close. I don't know if Melissa has enough traction with the audience to hold on another week, unlike Kevin who probably will hold on longer than he should (and already has). Bucky's performance tonight might sway enough people to keep him on. It's a tough call.

Only time (about 21 hours) will tell.

romancing the stone

A few days ago, I held the rock in my hand. It's beautiful. Polished. Warm. Hefty -- figuratively, literally, and fiscally. Alas, it is an expensive stone (what is a 'stone' but a 'rock' with a steep price tag).

Still, whenever I stop focusing on the window long enough to have some actual brain activity, it is of this stone I'm thinking. Its magical properties induce reverie. The inner workings of my daydreams are like an MGM Technicolor musical starring Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers (I know this was not a typical pairing, but it's my daydream and I want Gene and Ginger together, OK?).

Ah, stone, I'm working on it. I'll get you soon enough.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

right, right, right, wrong

And now for something completely devoid of symbolism and generally irrelevant to life in general. American Idol! Down to the Final 12 tonight. Four had to be eliminated to create this group. Ayla Brown -- good decision, besides she'll probably be President some day. Kinnik Sky -- agreed she didn't quite cut it. Will Makar -- definitely had to go (if for no other reason that he looked creepily like Peter Brady). But Gedeon McKinney? What were you thinking, America?

This young man has talent, first and foremost. But more than that, he has passion for music, creativity, artistry, confidence, and stage presence. He wasn't perfect: the first note of last night's performance was not good. But he quickly redeemed himself and went on to an otherwise wonderful rendition of a well-chosen song. He has obvious ability, and at 17, lots of time to develop it.

As much as I can appreciate people's near-maternal instinct about Kevin Covais (whose female cohorts all rush to pinch his cheeks and dubbed him "Chicken Little" because of his physical resemblance to the cartoon), he is simply too green and too stiff to be a pop performer. His voice is nice, but interpretations lack any emotion whatsoever. He shakes and freezes and generally looks like he'd rather be hanging on the door of the bully's gym locker than on stage trying to become a famous singer.

Bucky's more subdued interest in singing and laid back attitude seem well suited to him, but he often looks intimidated and downright uncomfortable on stage. He's also been inconsistent through the whole process. Last night was probably the best of his performances, and the presence of an identical twin named Rocky upped the likeability ante. But he, too, lacks the spark that transforms a singer into a star.

I thought sure Kevin or Bucky would join Will on the way out. Actually, I thought Will might be left to compete while Kevin and Bucky were booted. Gedeon deserved another opportunity to prove his musical meddle. Oh well. What do I know?

Taylor Hicks just makes me happy. And man, he picks songs that work exactly for him. Mandisa is simply a force to be reckoned with. Makings of the next Aretha Franklin. Elliott Yamin has a surprising voice and the talent to utilize it well (his version of "Moody's Mood for Love" ranks as one of my favorite Idol performances, up there with Fantasia's "Summertime"). In the words of my friend, Rina, Ace Young is yummy (oh and yeah, he can really sing... it was brave to tackle "Butterflies" for a couple divergent reasons, but he transcended them both). Paris Bennett and Lisa Tucker definitely deserve to be watched. Each has had moments of crystalline brilliance. Chris Daughtry has 'arena rock god' written all over him. It almost feels like he just needed to get the right person's ear (Clive Davis, are you listening?). He doesn't need American Idol. Katharine McPhee's version of "Think" was smokin'.

Looks like a good competition this year. It would have been slightly more interesting with Gedeon in it, but such is life. Now, it's time for bed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Heavy-handed symbolism should be used in small doses, reserved for epic poetry and movies with messages. But I just can't stop talking about my window. It's dirty. It's in my way. I just have to break it. It's not easy, deciding whether or when to break it. It's downright hard. Still, a decision has to be made.

Interesting thing is that I seem to have proximity to a rock. An effective rock. The kind that would do a good job breaking the window thoroughly and with minimal shattering. It's now a matter of picking it up and heaving it.

All these vague, thinly-veiled-if-you-get-them or what-the-hell-is-she-talking-about-if-you-don't references will end eventually. Either I'll break the damnable window or I'll learn to accept it. Details will or won't follow.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

68.5 + 4.5

This number means something, but I'm not going to say what. How intriguing. How mysterious. How annoying!

Yesterday was a frighteningly lazy day. I didn't shower (I know, TMI). I did no work of any sort, including housework. I napped three times. I didn't make any meals. I did leave the house twice -- once to get breakfast and once to get lunch. But I was in my loungewear when I did. By the way, "loungewear" = pajamas (I know, TMI again). At least I wore a trenchcoat and real shoes (though I was tempted to drive in my slippers), and I never left the car. I didn't eat dinner at all. I read a magazine, perused a few blogs and news sites, watched a movie I'd never seen before, and zipped through and deleted a bunch of TiVo'd "Clean Sweep" episodes. TiVo rocks. I pet lots of cats. No, that's not right. I pet four cats lots of times. Did I mention that I napped three times?

That about sums up the day. Pathetic, isn't it? Well, now it's time to pay the piper. Today, I tackle housework. Ted has generously offered to tackle it, too. Between the two of us, we should make some great progress. Personally, I'm thrilled that we figured out how to program the garage door opener in his car. Celebrate the little victories.

So, time to stop blogging about silly and annoying things and go get some more stuff done.